Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Ultratech Cement : The Engineer's Choice

Brand: Ultratech Cement
Company : Ultratech Cemco ( Aditya Birla Group)
Agency : Leo Burnett

2005 saw one of the high profile brand launches in the country. The launch was significant and different because it was the launch of a cement brand. Another uniqueness was that it was a rebranding exercise. L&T's cement business was acquired by Aditya Birla Group in 2004 for Rs 2200 crore making Grasim the 8th largest cement producer in the world.

Grasim was having cement brands like Birla plus and Birla super in the 150 mn TPA Cement market in India. L&T was a leading brand in the premium segment of the cement market. The acquisition gave Grasim an entry into the premium segment of the market.

L&T cement which enjoyed leadership position in the premium cement market epitomized engineering prowess , technology quality and modernity. This has enabled the brand to command a premium over the other cement brands. Grasim was allowed 8 months to use the L&T brand.

Grasim was faced with a tough task. The time was short and there were two choices, merge the L&T brand with existing Grasim brands or launch a new brand . The company decided on the later and did it with style.

The name Ultratech was chosen after careful marketing research. Since L&T does not mean anything by virtue of the brand name, Grasim wanted the new brandname to portray significant intrinsic value of the brand. Hence the name Ultratech was chosen. Since Grasim didnot want to dilute the premiumness that L&T enjoyed, a high decibel ad blitz was launched to announce that L&T is now Ultratech. The campaigns was backed with direct marketing where the company officials met the 5500 odd stockists and authorised dealers explaining the new brand and company policies.

The campaign had lot of significance.
1. It had to make sure that the new brand did not lose the qualities of L&T
2. The new brand should be able to command the same level of premium of L&T.
3. Time was short
4. It was a risky affair.
Cement is basically viewed as a commodity and the industry is fragmented with around 50 players. So inorder to command a premium, the brand had to show a significant differentiation.

Ultratech was positioned as the ' Engineer's choice" cement emphasizing on the qualities such as Quality, Modernity and technology. The gamble has paid off well for Aditya Birla group and Ultratech was able to carry the legacy of L&T cement.

Ultratech is a classic case of Marketing a commodity.